US participation in Mamasapano operation ‘limited’—de Lima
While there was US participation in the Jan. 25, 2015 operation to get international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir also known as Marwan that led to the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said investigation showed that such participation is limited.
“American participation in Oplan EXODUS was only limited to the giving of intelligence and technical support and medical evacuation. They did not take part in actual fighting,” de Lima said quoting the report of the National Prosecution Service-National Bureau of Investigation (NPS-NBI) at a press conference Thursday.
The Special Investigating Team from NPS-NBI has been tasked, among others to determine the extent of the American involvement in the planning, execution and post-action in Oplan EXODUS in light of reports and videos that a “blue-eyed” soldier was killed in the encounter.
Media reports also showed that a US drone was also seen in the area during the Mamasapano operation.
The team reported that there was a “fixed wing surveillance aircraft” provided by the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP-P) for real time Intelligence Surveillance and Recognizance of the situation on the ground.
Aside from that, the team said JSOTFP-P also provided SAF with intelligence information and personnel to man and operate surveillance and communication equipment at the Tactical Command Post.
“But these American intelligence and technical personnel did not participate in actual combat with MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter) and PAGs (Private Armed Groups) at Mamasapano. Neither did these Americans give directions or orders to the SAF commandos,” the team’s report said.
“The Joint NPS-NBI is of the view that the nature and extent of the American involvement…did not violate the Constitution, Revised Penal Code or other special penal laws,” the team said.
On the other hand, the NPS-NBI team noted that while there were procedural and chain of custody lapses committed by SAF in immediately turning over of Marwan’s finger to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it does not constitute any violation of penal laws. Tetch Torres-Tupas/RAM
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